The Ambassador in Spain (Bowers), Then in France, to the Secretary of State
[Received February 13—11:30 a.m.]
578. Ernestina Fleishmann, niece of Sam Untermyer,61 married to a Spaniard, escaped from refugee camp and is now in Paris. She and others describe treatment as atrocious with shelter for but a few in cattle sheds. Franco agents are permitted by the French to go among the refugees attacking the Spanish Government and urging the soldiers to go to Franco territory where they are promised food, clothing and money. Among these are the Americans released by the Government and awaiting evacuation when Barcelona fell. If, as I understand it, money is available for their repatriation I suggest that their release for that purpose be requested of the French Government. In view of the character of this contest suggest that some one representing us may well visit this camp to report on what is transpiring. Will go myself if instructed.
2. Viscount Momblas62 took me aside at Egyptian Legation last night to discuss effect of fall of Barcelona on the flour distribution [Page 790] there. He says conditions are very bad and that help is needed and asks if the portion allotted for that region will be sent under changed conditions. He assumed it will be since the distribution was nonpolitical. I expressed gratification on hearing him admit it was nonpolitical, in view of the fact that the Franco press had attacked us for sending flour to Loyalist territory while suppressing the fact that flour was sent to Franco territory far in excess of the proportionate needs. He apologized for that.
I asked him if Franco would give a guarantee of safety to ships taking flour for Loyalist territory into Loyalist ports.
He implied this could be arranged if the flour meant originally for Barcelona continues to be sent.
I suggested that this be discussed with proper agency and I be informed of the intentions under the new conditions and in the event the flour goes to Barcelona I be permitted to say that this is conditioned on guarantee from Franco that there will be no interference with the shipments intended for the starving children of Madrid and Valencia. We are in position to demand and receive this assurance. Would appreciate an early reply.